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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Queen Azalea has been crowned, and the Azalea Festival is officially underway.

Hundreds of people came out on this beautiful day to watch Jennifer Wayne’s crowning moment.

“It’s really pretty outside, so it kind of highlights how the azalea festival is supposed to be,” Azalea Belle Megan Pawlowski said.

Queen Jennifer, her court and the festival’s celebrity guests cruised up the Cape Fear River on the Henrietta II. The celebrities said they were taken back by the southern hospitality and the people of Wilmington.

“I am just overwhelmed,” the queen said. “People here are so nice. I feel so spoiled.”

Celebrity guest Alexa Alemanni, an actress who has appeared in “Mad Men,” agreed.

“The hospitality of everyone has been extraordinary,” she said.

New Hanover High School alum Win McMurry of the Golf Channel is no stranger to the Azalea Festival. Now she’s seeing it from a different perspective.

“I’m so honored to be to able to be back in my hometown here in Wilmington,” McMurry said. “I was actually an Azalea Belle back when I was in high school.”

The queen says even though she has only been in Wilmington for a day she is in love with the Port City.

“I’ve never seen flowers like they have here. I mean I knew it was the Azalea Festival, so I was expecting pretty flowers but not like this. They’re insane,” Wayne said. “Today I’m like, ‘Look at that, look at that!’ My boyfriend went to the beach today, and he was like, ‘Jen, I think we should move here.”

Tomorrow, Queen Jennifer will tour Wilmington, including visits to Roland-Grise Middle School and the Betty H. Cameron Women’s and Children’s Hospital.


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